Nothing Can Make Me Do This

by David Huddle

$16.95$27.95

“If Eros as bringer of strife (or at least confusion) is the persistent theme, it never becomes predictable or boring, simply because of the alert observation and the fine detail. I have enjoyed and admired every paragraph. This new novel is one more shining performance from David Huddle, one of his very best.” —Fred Chappell

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Can we ever truly know another person, however well-loved? Brainy, decent, funny, and likeable, the members of Horace Houseman’s family and his closest friend possess quirky and compelling interior lives that they reveal to no one else. Nothing Can Make Me Do This, David Huddle’s tenth work of fiction, enters the minds of Horace, Eve, Hannah, Clara, Bill, and others over fifty years, leaping in chronology an intersecting the vantage points, in a kaleidoscopic vision of a contemporary clan (and their secrets).

Advance Praise:

“Huddle takes us into the intimate heart of a family, the desires that we keep from each other and often from ourselves. Huddle has the courage and skill to travel these secret spaces and bring to light our loneliness and our longing. As one of his characters argues: ‘Every now and then somebody gets a glimpse of what it’s like to be somebody else.’ In Nothing Can Make Me Do This, Huddle gives us not just a glimpse, but that rare revelatory and redeeming experience of seeing and becoming those others, which is why we read and need his novels.—Julia Alvarez

“I can’t remember when I’ve finished a novel feeling that I knew and loved the characters better than the three generations of Housemans in David Huddle’s magnificently powerful and entertaining Nothing Can Make Me Do This. With compelling honesty, insight, humor, and grace, Huddle shows us how love, in all its wondrous forms from lasting friendship to the most intensely passionate sexuality, defines our common humanity. Nothing Can Make Me Do This is a great American novel.—Howard Frank Mosher

“If Eros as bringer of strife (or at least confusion) is the persistent theme, it never becomes predictable or boring, simply because of the alert observation and the fine detail. I have enjoyed and admired every paragraph. This new novel is one more shining performance from David Huddle, one of his very best.” —Fred Chappell

Praise for David Huddle’s previous novels:

“A shimmering novel… like a shattered mirror pieced painstakingly together, every shard captures a different angle.… brims with wisdom, compassion, and a rare grace.” —Publishers Weekly

“One of Huddle’s finest achievements is to have convinced us of his characters’ complexities without ever needing to declare them interesting, and to have delineated their various voices without resorting to crudely obvious variations in speaking style or personal obsession.… (Deserves) a standing ovation.” —Newsday

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Clothbound, Paperback

dhuddle225Originally from Ivanhoe, Virginia, David Huddle taught for thirty-eight years at the University of Vermont, then served three years as Distinguished Visiting Professor of Creative Writing at Hollins University. He now teaches at the Bread Loaf School of English, the Ranier Writing Workshop, and the Sewanee School of Letters. Huddle’s writing has appeared in The New Yorker,The American Scholar, Esquire, Harper’s, The Georgia Review, and in many other publications. His novel Nothing Can Make Me Do This won the 2012 Library of Virginia Award for Fictiopn, and his collection Black Snake at the Family Reunion won the 2013 PEN New England Award for Poetry.

“Family secrets slowly unravel in Huddle’s (The Story of a Million Years) account of a large family and their effervescent patriarch, Horace Houseman. His granddaughter, Eve, reveals his secret as the novel opens, and though it seems absurd and over blown to her, as the story progresses, it means much more. Each chapter divulges the innermost thoughts of those who lived the moments and felt the betrayal, successfully articulating a beloved granddaughter’s blind conviction, a son-in-law’s honesty, a dear friend’s turmoil, and a grieving wife’s sadness and anger. The sexual escapades of nearly every character pepper the pages with lucid passion and allow a peek into the eroticism of each relationship. These moments are honest and sexually charged, though sometimes illicit and disturbing. Each person’s perspective on sex reveals their differences, usually having some correlation to their generation and experience. Huddle’s novel is ravishing, charged with both desire and emotional turmoil; his insights, though sometimes unsettling, skillfully mirror reality.”

Publishers Weekly


“I have had the experience of starting a poem and having it end up as a novella — a book I published, ’Tenorman,’ started out as that. I guess I am more of a short-story writer than anything else. The three novels I have published, all three of them are made up mostly of short stories that I wrote as chapters of the book. The chapters seem like short stories and most of them were published as short stories. So doing that is the only method for me to try to write a novel. I have attempted in the past to write them in what I think of as the normal way, writing the beginning of the story and working my way to the end, but that does not work for me, so I have several novels that haven’t been completed that are sitting in my attic.”

The Burlington Free Press (interview with David Huddle as well as an excerpt from his new novel)